James Hogg is a ghostwriter, biographer and collaborator specialising in sport and entertainment.
Born in the Yorkshire Dales in 1971, he began his writing career whilst working at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club where he spent several years masquerading as the club’s commercial manager.
Whilst at Headingley, in between failed attempts at securing sponsors, James wrote two acclaimed biographies. The first, What’s the Bleeding Time? disclosed the life and times of the actor and naturalist James Robertson Justice and featured a foreword by H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh. The second, Little Ern, the authorised biography of Ernie Wise (Macmillan, 2011), was a collaboration with the writer of Hellraisers, Robert Sellers, as was James’s next book, Hello Darlings! – the authorised biography of Kenny Everett (Bantam Press, 2013).
His most recent books as a ghostwriter or collaborator include the Torvill & Dean best-seller, Our Life on Ice (S&S, 2014), Robbie Savage’s I’ll Tell You What (Little Brown, Oct 2015) and The People’s Gardener, the autobiography of the RHS judge and star of BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge, Jim Buttress (Macmillan, May 2016)
In 2015 James approached the indomitable Brian Blessed about the possibility producing a conversational memoir utilising his unmistakable personality and skills as a raconteur. The result, Absolute Pandemonium (Macmillan, Oct 2015), became an immediate best-seller and was hailed by Caitlin Moran of the Times (perhaps slightly tongue-in-cheek) as “book of the decade.”
James’ most recent book – the Johnny Herbert memoir What Doesn’t Kill You (Transworld, Nov 2016) – has just been longlisted for Autobiography of the Year at the Cross British Sports Book Awards and is on course to become one of the biggest selling motorsport books of the year.
He lives in Yorkshire with his wife and two children and spends most of his spare time avoiding crowds and social media.
What Doesn’t Kill You…: My Life in Motor Racing – BUY HERE
Johnny Herbert was one of the most brilliant natural talents to emerge in motor racing, but for all his bravery and prowess, he’s lucky to be alive. After becoming British Junior Karting Champion (losing part of a finger in the process), then the Formula 3 title for Eddie Jordan in 1987, he was all set for a glittering debut season in Formula 1 when he was caught in a mass pile-up at Brands Hatch. That horrific crash threatened to end his career, but Herbert made a miraculous recovery, was a hugely popular winner of the British Grand Prix in 1995, and enjoyed 25 years of competitive motorsport, becoming the only British driver to win the 24 hours of Le Mans followed by a Grand Prix. And all that despite driving every pace in extreme pain; in fact, as the first and only disabled driver in F1 history.
While chronicling an extraordinary life behind the wheel with cheer and his trademark cheeky humour,What Doesn’t Kill You… contains a wealth of stories from the hard end of Formula 1: on Johnny’s team-mate Michael Schumacher, legends like Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, his fellow British adversaries Damon Hill, Martin Brundle and Nigel Mansell, and of course all those gruesome accidents. With an encyclopaedic knowledge and love of the sport, Johnny Herbert’s memoir, much like the man himself, delivers brilliance from the back of the grid.
PUBLISHER: Bantam Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 3 Nov. 2016
THE PEOPLE’S GARDENER — Buy it here
With an introduction by Alan Titchmarsh, The People’s Gardener is an inspiring memoir by top gardening judge Jim Buttress, that will amuse and enthral gardeners everywhere.
As a judge at the RHS, Jim Buttress presides over the country’s favourite flower shows, including Chelsea and Hampton Court. He also judged the Britain in Bloom competition for over twenty-five years, and was watched by millions on the BBC’sThe Big Allotment Challenge. But how did this practical gardener from Purley go on to have one of the most impressive careers in British horticulture?
In this warm and funny memoir, Jim takes us from his boyhood obsession with Percy Thrower to his ten-year stint as Superintendent of the Central Royal Parks. Here, his day-to-day duties could include anything from having a drink and a chat with the Queen Mother to working out how to water some elephants who’d taken up residence in Hyde Park.
Jim also reveals what it’s like to exhibit, and to win gold, at the Chelsea Flower Show, and shares his many adventures as a judge; from the joy of awarding medals to grateful winners to the shock of being threatened with a punch on the nose from the odd irate loser. Packed with brilliant characters, this book will delight everyone who shares Jim’s love of gardening.
PUBLISHER: Sidgwick & Jackson
PUBLICATION DATE: 19 May 2016
OUR LIFE ON ICE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY – Buy it here
When Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean collapsed to the ice at the climax of their routine to Boleroin the 1984 Winter Olympics, the judges could find no fault, awarding them 12 maximum scores of 6.0, while 24 million viewers watching at home in Britain simply looked on in amazement. Suddenly, we were all experts in figure skating, and we wanted to know more about the couple at the heart of it all.
Despite intense interest in them, Torvill & Dean kept their lives private, with many still wondering if the pair were really a couple. They turned professional and would eventually spend eight years working on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, but still much of their story remained unknown.
Now, in Our Life on Ice, Torvill & Dean finally open up about the challenges they have faced and the pressures of life in the public eye: Jayne speaks candidly about her struggle with husband Phil to start a family, while Chris reveals the heartache in his family story. And of course, there is the skating, and the stories about what inspired their famous routines, and what the pair hope to achieve in the future as the approach their fortieth anniversary working together. It is the book their millions of fans have been waiting to read.
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster UK
PUBLICATION DATE: 9th October 2014
James Robertson Justice: What’s the Bleeding-Time? – Buy it here
This biography of James Roberston Justice celebrates the secret life and glittering career of one of British cinema’s finest and most recognisable screen personalities. With his unforgettable presence and his trademark bulk, whiskers, and fierce bark, James Robertson Justice made a treasure chest of classic British movies. He is best remembered as the bombastic Sir Lancelot Spratt in Doctor in the House (1954), but also starred in many wonderful films, both comedies and drama, often portrayed as a domineering (if frequently soft-centred) ogre. His on-screen temper tantrums often resembled those of a gigantic, irate toddler. This book unravels for the first time, through detailed research and original interviews with those close to him, the myriad complexities of one of Britain s finest actors. The book is fully illustrated with many rare photos. A must buy for fans of classic British films. Throughout the fifties and sixties he built a career on scene stealing performances in comedies and action thrillers. A bittersweet fling with Hollywood even landed him the enigmatic role of Vashtar, architect of the Great Pyramid, in Howard Hawks historical epic Land of the Pharaohs (1955). However, for his many fans, Justice’s true metier remained farce. A pivotal role in the creation of his recognisable screen persona was the punctilious, ‘thrash happy’ Dr. Grimstone in Vice Versa (1948). It was from this seed of a condescending Victorian headmaster that a succession of characters flourished, epitomised by Lord Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Woe betide anyone who attracted his beetle-browed displeasure. From Dirk Bogarde, through Stanley Baxter and Dick Van Dyke, JRJ was the towering authority figure par excellence, releasing a hilarious barrage of vitriolic slap downs and insults. His recurring role as fathers to beautiful ingénues, such as Sir Beverly Grant in Father Came Too! (1963) and Charles Chingford in Ken Annakin s The Fast Lady (1962), offered older cinema goers a reassuring bulwark against the (would be) excesses of the ‘permissive society’. James Robertson Justice was a “brilliant raconteur, indifferent to money” – part Walter Mitty, part Sir John Falstaff. There is no actor we can think of with a life story that screams so loudly for a biography. This is the definitive story of one of Britain’s greatest actors.
PUBLISHER: Tomahawk Press
PUBLICATION DATE: 1st Mar. 2008
Spontaneous, hilarious, irrepressible and, of course, trailblazing – Kenny Everett was revolutionary in television and radio comedy. Chris Evans, Chris Moyles, Rob Brydon and Steve Wright have all cited Kenny as a huge influence on their work – even the great Spike Milligan called him a genius. It was Kenny who developed the radio show format with which we are so familiar today: a mix of music, jingles, funny voices and sound effects. When he seamlessly made the move to television in the seventies, he created unforgettable characters such as Sid Snot, Cupid Stunt and Marcel Wave.
Rarely seen without a smile on his face in public, in reality, Kenny was a deeply insecure man who suffered severe bouts of depression. He also struggled with his sexuality, only coming out to the public in 1985. Diagnosed with HIV in 1987, Kenny died in 1995.
This in-depth and affectionate biography has been fully authorised by Kenny’s family and contains original interviews with Kenny’s sister, Kate and with his former wife, Lee, as well as entertainment figures such as Barry Cryer, Cliff Richard, Chris Tarrant and Paul Gambaccini. Packed with fabulous stories about the highs and lows of Kenny’s life, his great friendships with The Beatles and Freddie Mercury, this is a book that any fan of comedy and entertainment must read.
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication date: 27 Feb. 2014
LITTLE ERN: THE AUTHORISED BIOGRAPHY OF ERNIE WISE – Buy it here.
Even though they are the most famous comedy double act Britain has ever seen, until now there has never been a biography of Ernie Wise. Seen by some as just the straight man in the partnership, in fact ‘Little Ern’ was regarded by his peers as a great comedian in his own right. It took no ordinary talent to be the perfect foil for the genius of Eric Morecambe, and to be his friend, business partner and co-performer for nearly forty years. Morecambe’s personality flared with ego and insecurity, and theirs was a personal relationship that had to be nurtured as carefully as were their on-screen personas. Nearly thirty years after their last appearances, the pair still dominate the landscape of British comedy, and are loved and revered as ever. With the cooperation of Ernie’s widow Doreen, and drawing on unpublished material from the family archive as well as interviews with friends, Robert Sellers and James Hogg have shifted the spotlight sideways to examine for the first time the true and patient genius of one of the greatest entertainers of his generation.
PUBLISHER: Sidgwick & Jackson; Unabridged edition
PUBLICATION DATE: 7 Oct. 2011
I’LL TELL YOU WHAT… – Buy it here
Robbie Savage is one of Britain’s most recognisable football pundits. Incisive, forthright and bold, Savage never holds back where the beautiful game is concerned.
No Premier League footballer has ever divided opinion quite like Robbie Savage. Mr Marmite, as he was often known (among other things), rampaged his way through almost 350 games in the Premier League and along the way picked up more yellow cards than Gary Lineker has crisps and more enemies than Joey Barton and Neil Warnock put together.
In his explosive new book, I’ll Tell You What…, Savage lifts the lid on all aspects of the modern game. Managers, players, the Premiership, the European game, the FA Cup, kids’ football, and pushy football parents are just a few of the topics that Savage takes on in his inimitable provocative style.
Robbie tells us why:
Ø Alex Ferguson is not Britain’s best ever manager
Ø The Messi v Ronaldo debate will go on forever, but I know who’s best
Ø The Class of ’92 could do a job for England
Ø On paper I was probably one of the world’s most versatile footballers
Ø You simply can’t knock on Mark Hughes’s door and invite him for a game of golf – even if he invites you
Ø Drinking wine does not win you football matches
Ø I could never become a manager. Or could I?
Ø Referees are human after all
Ø Zico is not as good as Ronaldo – despite what Brazilian waiters say
Ø Good manners should come before diamond earrings
Ø Roberto Mancini has a great singing voice
Robbie Savage’s straight-talking common sense is only the start of it. I’ll Tell You What is a modern-day guide to life, and should be read by anyone who has an interest in anything at all, especially football. Few may actually agree with him, but everyone listens.
PUBLICATION DATE: 8TH Oct. 2015
ABSOLUTE PANDEMONIUM: MY LOUDER THAN LIFE STORY – Buy it here.
There is no one quite like Brian Blessed. He’s an actor, film star, trained undertaker, unlikely diplomat, secret romantic, martial artist and mountaineer. He’s also a brilliant storyteller who will – and you must brace yourself – simply leap out of the pages at you.
Ready? Then open Absolute Pandemonium and you’ll be taken on a riotous journey from his childhood, growing up the son of a miner in Goldthorpe, to finding fame in Z-Cars. You’ll see Brian falling for Katharine Hepburn on the set of The Trojan Women, suffering wires strapped round his wotsits as he was hoisted into the heavens on Flash Gordon, almost causing an international incident when meeting the Emperor and Empress of Japan, and winning round George Lucas to get the role of Boss Nass onStar Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
Along the way he takes secret revenge on headmistress Mrs Jarman and her very big bottom, punches Harold Pinter, loves and hates Peter O’Toole, woos his beautiful wife Hildegard Neil and braves the shocking death toll on cosy TV drama My Family and Other Animals. Crammed with anecdotes from his illustrious career, this is a funny, warm-hearted, life-affirming, LOUD and unique memoir from a much-loved figure.
Stuffed with riotous and hilarious tales . . . never less than entertaining and in some parts, as in his relationship with Peter O’Toole, even quietly revelatory. (Daily Express)
PUBLISHER: Sidgwick & Jackson
PUBLICATION DATE: 8 Oct. 2015